Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Menswear for the Short, Heavyset Man: Heel to Head
Patterning Styles for Short, Broad Men
As a stout man, your wardrobe should primarily feature dark, solid colors. Removing the visual clutter of patterns allows well-fitted clothing to move the viewer’s gaze quickly along, sending it up (for height) and out (away from your width). Vertical stripes spaced close together add the most height, if patterns are desired, but dark colors are still imperative; bright dyes pull the eye in and invite it to linger, which is the opposite of your needs. Heavily textured weaves like herringbone or houndstooth are likewise undesirable — as much as possible, err on the side of smooth simplicity.
Shoes for Short Men
Footwear that provides a physical boost, either in the heel or within the shoe’s interior, may or may not add a few extra centimeters to a man’s height. More important is footwear that presents a clean visual line — avoid anything with unnecessary detailing or decorative seams. A plain-toed oxford serves best, and has the added benefit of being acceptable in even the most formal situations; an unadorned loafer will serve well on occasions when an oxford is too dressy. Resist the temptation to add height with a chunky heel, as it will add an unwanted feeling of solidness and breadth to your body (as well as looking like you’re trying too hard).
The Stocky Man’s Trousers
Trousers should be worn as high as possible on the waist, allowing the pants to drape comfortably over your stomach rather than forcing the flesh to hang over a low-slung waistband. A close fit in the crotch will help prevent a shapeless, saggy appearance, and helps create the impression of longer legs and extra height as well. Cuffs at the bottom of the trouser legs add little to your appearance and break the smooth, vertical line, and should therefore be avoided. Pleats, on the other hand, will loosen the pants about the waist and hips and add a subtle vertical element as well. Fasten your trousers with a pair of suspenders, not a belt — the belt breaks your vertical shape in half and draws the eye directly to your middle, and the suspenders will be more comfortable besides.
A Suit Coat for the Short, Stocky Man
Jackets for shorter men are always better-off cut short in the back, ending at or just above the curve of the buttocks to extend the line of your legs. A deep “V” in the front lengthens and narrows your chest, so opt for low-slung, two-button coats over the alternatives. Detailing should be kept to an absolute minimum — two slit pockets set at angles is all the coat needs. Some men opt out of even that much, wearing a smooth-fronted jacket, but beware of keeping too many bulky items in your trouser pockets. A bulge in the side of your pants ruins the vertical line more than a pair of slits, so wear a suit with pockets if you carry enough items to need them.
Whenever possible, choose coats with peak lapels; these help guide the eye upward and have the added advantage of standing out as somewhat unusual in today’s fashions.